This week the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s office is bringing recognition to all volunteer fire departments in the state.
“It’s not something that you have to do, it’s something that you want to do,” said a Volunteer Firefighter, Raisa Wheeler. As a mother of two Wheeler juggles being a full time mommy with being a volunteer firefighter. “It’s not just your job that you get up in the morning and you get a pay check for,” said Wheeler.
It’s something Wheeler and many other volunteers donate hours upon hours to do. As an EMT for almost a decade, Wheeler described volunteering as rewarding but challenging at times. “You get up out of bed at all hours of the night and leave your family because you legitimately want to go out and do it,” said Wheeler.
She and hundreds of other volunteers put their lives on the line and she said without volunteer departments people would suffer.
As someone who’s been in the fire service for nearly 40 years, Jeff Johnson agreed. “A lot of the times we’ll be first on the scene of a heart attack when the ambulance is 15 minutes out, without that- it would be detrimental,” said Johnson. “It would make all the difference in the world if we’re not here for our surrounding community,” said Wheeler.
With dozens of volunteer departments throughout West Virginia – these hometown heroes say they’re happy to serve their community. “Just everyday that we can go out and help somebody whether it helps somebody anytime we can put a smile on someone’s face that’s in distress, that makes the job well worth it,” said Johnson.
Volunteer departments throughout the state stress they are in need of volunteers. If you would like to get involved contact your local fire department for training.